Well the quiet Highland peace changed last week when I received a totally unexpected call from the good folks at the Scottish Nature Photography Awards telling me that I had won the wildlife category of the competition with a portrait of a “Cheeky Otter” from Mull.
I was absolutely delighted, when I was then told this had been unanimously selected by the judges as the overall winner and I was Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year for 2011! The news has finally started to sink in and I am really looking forward to the year ahead.
Here’s what the judges said.
Scottish Wildlife Category
Neil McIntyre, one of the judges, said: “With a huge increase in entries from the first year (double in fact) plus the high standard, it was a tough long job to pick the winning pictures.
“It was going to take something extra special to stand out from so many great shots. However, the winning image of the Otter was a unanimous winner. This iconic, elusive animal was captured brilliantly by Marcus Conway, showing great character and capturing a perfect moment in time. You just can’t help but smile when you look at this picture and wish you had been there – a sure sign of a winning image.”
1st place & Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2011
Marcus said: “Scotland is a wonderful place to watch and photograph nature and I am overjoyed to have won this prestigious award.
“I had been on Mull for two weeks enjoying the wealth of wildlife on the island and tracking Otters. I had spotted a family of Otters feeding along the shoreline and decided to set up in the rocks to try to get a group shot. What happened next took me by surprise. The female Otter came onto the exact same rocks I had chosen, enabling me to get this intimate portrait shot as she scented the air. Moments later she was too close to focus on as she continued along the rocks just feet away.
“It was a wonderful encounter with one of Scotland’s finest mammals and to have been made Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year has made the moment even more special.”
I will of course post more in due course about this fabulous award. for now you can find more information on the main competition website